December 19 '98             

Volume 133

Nov. Fishing Day 2 Sansing Invitational  
Merry Christmas

I arose a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. after a short night of sleep. The shortness of the night had nothing to do with my sleeping accommodations, they were comfortable enough. Instead, it was simply a matter of staying up later than normal. Yet, when good friends gather after not seeing one another more than a few times a year, there is simply too much catching up to do and too little time in which to do it.

Jim Hess is a man of many talents, some of which I envy. One in particular is his ability to fall asleep rapidly and sleep soundly throughout the night. Over the years, I have learned it is best for one not to sleep in the same room with Jim if one is a light sleeper such as I am. I have been told that I snore while sleeping, but I relinquish top snoring honors to Jim. I would have a major case of sleep deprivation if I produced the volume Jim attains. Whenever I want to explain how severe his snoring is, I tend to exaggerate by stating his snoring produces enough air movement in the room that the door opens and closes with each breath. I have mentioned all of this seemingly irrelevant commentary in order to help you understand how I was able to tease Jim at the breakfast table.

"Yeah, Jim," I began, "I figured out why you got the bedroom futherest from the master bed room."

"Why’s that?" Jim asked, obligingly, though realizing I was setting him up.

"It’s because the Sansings did not want your snoring keeping them awake," I stated.

Jim managed a smile and grunted something like, "Was it that bad?"

"Not as bad as the bedroom door banging in the breeze," I teased.

Elese had gotten up about the same time as the rest of us, and managed to get breakfast started about the time I showed up in the kitchen. She was having a tough time slicing the roll of Jimmy Dean sausage into patties, so I took over the chore as she concentrated on other matters. Somehow, I ended up frying all of the sausage and the gang ate most of it with buttered biscuits, jelly, and syrup. Elese only had a small amount of Golden Eagle syrup left in a pint jar, but knowing how well I like it, she made sure everyone knew the syrup was for me. Believe it or not, I did not feel any guilt eating the syrup and not sharing with Gordon or Jim.

By 8:00 a.m., we were on our way to fish. Gordon had selected a lake operated by the National Park Service that was roughly ten miles away. The lake had perhaps sixty acres and really looked as though it held some nice fish. Unfortunately, there was a slot limit in effect. We were permitted to keep only three bass. All fish measuring between thirteen and seventeen inches had to be returned to the water immediately. The slot was such that most of the normally keepable fish would have to be returned.

The extremely dry autumn had shrunk the size of the lake, and the water was entirely too clear for good fishing. One of the many varieties of underwater vegetation had pretty much choked out the shallows. Early after our arrival, Gordon took a goggle-eye bream or rock bass. Superstition encouraged us to keep the first fish, which we put on the stringer.

Within the first thirty minutes, I boated two nice bass that had to be returned because they fell into the range of the slot. Oh, well, that’s why bass fishing is referred to as a sport, plus returning fish to the lake will ensure some other angler of a thrill.

Fishing with friends is best enjoyed when everyone is catching something. Otherwise, a bit of friendly tension pervades the air. It takes a hardy soul to cheer his companions when he hasn’t caught a fish. It is extremely difficult to avoid the appearance of taunting, to say nothing of the temptation to taunt, when two of three fishermen have boated one or more fish and the third is still fishless. So, the tension is only dissipated when everyone has caught a fish. I should have made a note of this earlier, but I will go on record as remembering that Jim did not catch a fish that morning. I am struggling to remember what happened three weeks ago. I don’t remember Gordon or me giving Jim a bad time, but I remember there being some tension in the cool morning air.

By eleven thirty it was apparent to us the fishing was not going to get any better so we pulled the boat onto the bank near our launch and stretched our legs for a few moments before walking to the parked truck an breaking out our lunch. We had almost finished our turkey and ham on wheat bread sandwiches when a park ranger pulled alongside and struck up a conversation with us. After we complained about the moss in the lake, he explained that plans were to drop the water level this winter in order to kill back some of the vegetation and thus improve the "fishability" of the lake.

Though we left the lake with only a couple of fish, we were not disheartened. We were convinced the next lake would prove more productive. The lake to which we were soon headed was a few miles south of Forest and about a quarter of a mile down a country lane that led to a cabin. The family of a next-door neighbor to Gordon Sansing, owns the lake. According to Gordon, the lake is approximately ten acres and has a fair amount of bass and bream.

All of us agreed that the water conditions of the lake indicated the promise of better results than the previous lake. Fishing was somewhat better, but not much. At least, Jim managed to boat a couple of fish on his own without Gordon or me having to let him reel in one of ours, and Jim was in a more relaxed mood the rest of the afternoon.

Though we fished long and hard, the fish seemed to have their own schedule. We would catch a fish or two between long periods of hard work on our part and no activity on the part of the fish. Gordon had brought a basket of crickets in order to lure a few bream, but the bream proved to be as difficult to entice as the bass.

It was late afternoon when we decided we’d had all the fun we needed and set about the chore of stowing our tackle and loading the boat into the back of Gordon’s truck. We took the fish with us, but we did not want any pictures made. We had no fish to brag about or show off to anyone. Jim was not particularly enthused about keeping and cleaning the catch, but since neither Gordon nor I wanted the fish, Jim iced them down and took them with him when we left the home of our friends.

By the time we got back to the Sansings’ home in Forest, daylight was gone. Elese could not bear to send us on our way without feeding us, but Jim and I insisted we needed to get back to our respective homes before too late in the evening. So rather than stay for a meal, we drank a cup of coffee and ate some of the chocolate marble cake Elese had made on Monday.

Two days later, we were all in separate locations, enjoying the Thanksgiving Holiday with our respective families. Though I cannot speak for my fishermen friends, I know that among the many things for which I was thankful was the fellowship of the Sansing and Hess families and the enjoyable times we shared throughout the year. Lee Gordon, who now resides in West Point, was not able to be with the three of us on our latest fishing excursion, but I gave thanks for those times we had shared together during this year. God willing, I shall share many more memorable fishing adventures with these friends in the years to come.

Christmas Tradition By Mrs. Bill Jackson, Sr.
Growing up, I knew we were really special because Santa always made his first stop at our house. Seems as soon as we had finished dinner, or supper for some, there was a family member or special friend who needed a visit or there was one last errand to run. I even remember going to the movie [theater] one Christmas Eve. Sure enough, each year when we returned home, Santa had been there. Years later we figured it out but we continued the tradition.

As each one of us married, our mates seemed to like the tradition and later on our children as well. All was well, until Bill, Jr. married. Bill, Jr.’s wife, Carol, did not go for the idea. Our daughter, Hillery, and Bill, Jr. did not give up easily. Somehow, Santa knew when we all had Christmas in Montgomery, he would visit us after we were all asleep, but when the family was all gathered in Pontotoc, Santa managed to find us on Christmas Eve.

Wonder what time he gets to Kenya?

Written by Katie Merchent Jackson, submitted as "Merchent/ Jackson Christmas Tradition."

Editor’s note: Katie and Bill Jackson are spending the month of December visiting their son and his family, where Bill, Jr. is now serving as a missionary in Kenya, Africa.

Christmas Villages By Mrs. Wayne L. Carter
I was trying to help Anna come up with an idea for her Christmas memory. I thought of different Christmases in her lifetime and remembered the Christmas she came over and we made gingerbread villages. We made houses from graham crackers, canned frosting, and candies. We made trees from inverted sugar cones, which we iced and decorated. Then there was the year we made tree ornaments from graham crackers and icing some were shaped like houses, and some were shaped like reindeer heads. We used broken pretzels for the reindeer antlers.

Seven or eight Christmases ago, Anna was at our house when I was preparing for Christmas dinner. The cornbread was ready to be crumbled for the dressing, and Anna wanted to help. Together, we were breaking up the bread and crumbling it into a large bowl, waiting for onions, celery, and seasonings to be added.

As we worked, I asked, "Anna, do you know what we are making?" "What, Nana?" "We’re making memories," I replied.

Surely, those are special Christmas memories, but it occurred to me that maybe these are my Christmas memories. Anna and I continue to do special things together because we have fun and we’re creating our Christmas memories. Merilese’s Christmas memory trip has just begun.

Written by Barbara Carter, submitted as "Whose Memory."

Christmas Birthday By Mrs. Mark Goslin
This is a Christmas story I’ve been told all of my life¾a memory of my great-great aunt.

My great-grandmother lived to be ninety-eight. She was one of five children, with the youngest being born December 25, 1893. My great-grandmother’s baby sister was named Eddie Willis or Aunt Eddie to my family. Aunt Eddie was always fascinating to me, and she loved to talk, especially about her family. Throughout her long life, she buried her husband, son, and daughter. At her own death, her immediate family was one grandson.

Aunt Eddie loved to tell of her birth. Her "Ma and Pa" had a lot of work to do with four children, already, but her mother was expecting a fifth child any day. On Christmas morning, 1893, before daybreak, the four siblings awoke to see what Santa had brought. Their father met them in the living room to show them their new sister.

In those days, everyone had chores to do, so to keep the baby quiet, her thumb was stuck in lard for her to suck! Haven’t times changed? My aunt was always honored to "share her birthday with Jesus."

She died March 5, 1995, a few months into her one hundred second year.

Written by Kim Bennett Goslin, submitted untitled.

Bodock Beau Thoughts To Ponder
Beau received the following questions that have been pondered by sages down through the ages (Internet public domain, courtesy of Joe Fannin). After laughing at the questions, Beau decided he could have even more fun if he took the time to answer the questions. This writer found a few of the answers right pleasing. What do you think?

Readers are challenged to a contest pitting sage against sage. If you feel you have a better answer for any of the following questions please send the question(s) along with your answer(s) to Bodock Beau in care of this newsletter. The editor will compile a list of the answers judged best by an independent, unbiased panel, and publish the answers in a forthcoming newsletter.

  • If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?
    •     You bet your sweet bippy, Bubba!
  • If a deaf child swears, does his/her mother wash his/her hands with soap?
    • Nope! It still works best to soap the mouth of the swearer.
  • If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
    • No, but if he makes good on the threat, then it's counted a massacre.
  • Is there another word for synonym?
    • Perhaps nymosyn, but then maybe that would be an antonym.
  • Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice"?
    • Only if what they are doing is the first time they have done it.
  • When sign makers go on strike, is anything written on their signs?
    • No, because they do not carry signs, they just carry the sign handles.
  • Where do forest rangers go to get away from it all?  
    • They report to the desert for dune patrol.
  • Wht do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
    • Seek the counsel of an endangered species such as a WASPM (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male).
  • If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?
    • Only if the plaintiff is a chef, otherwise the farmer’s wages would be garnisheed.
  • Could a fly without wings be called a walk?
    • Absolutely, and a walk with wings is a skywalk, while a walk with flies is a crosswalk.
  • Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?  
    • Apparently! Who would want to steal one?
  • If a turtle doesn't have a shell is it homeless or naked?
    • Both, but mostly naked, as in buck-naked.
  • Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
    • They do, but their sheepish nature prevents them from bleating about it.
  • Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
    • Yes, as long as the animal shape is that of a herbivore and not a carnivore.
  • If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?  
    • Yes, but they don't cuff him, they just draw a box around him so he cannot escape.   

Click for December Issues of RRN

Ridge Rider Back Issues